No, I'm Not Only Spiritual, I'm Religious

Hank Mattimore
Reproduced with Permission

Here I am at the Adoration Chapel of St. Eugene's Catholic Church. That's what it's called, the "Adoration" Chapel, not the "Meditation" Hall or some name more politically acceptable in our secular world.

A lot of folks are "getting into" meditation these days. No religious implication intended. Perish the thought. The official mantra is "Oh no, I'm not religious but I like to think of myself as spiritual."

I don't mean to mock people who identify themselves in this way. Our God is a forgiving God who also has a sense of humor. God "gets" that many of us are afraid of that religious label. There's a good reason for it too.

The world is full of religious nuts, many of them claiming to speak with Divine authority about matters of conscience. Religious bigots are a destructive and divisive element in our midst.

Who in their right mind wants be identify with people who, in one part of the world, want to stone a woman to death for adultery or in another part of our planet, show up at the funeral of a soldier and condemn the deceased and his family as murderers.

But we throw out the baby with the bathwater when we identify religion with religious bigots. Religion at its root meaning is the bond, the connection between a loving God and His creation. This connection existed from all eternity in the heart of creation, eons before man wrote the Bible or any of the sacred scriptures.

Real religion is simply the acknowledgment that there is a power in the universe that transcends our comprehension, someone or something that is in us and yet above us. It is that sacred component of life that is the source of awe and wonder.

It is the religious instinct that puts awe in our souls at the birth of a newborn baby and tears in our eyes at the death of a friend. It is behind the wonder we feel as we stand before the ocean, or the lump in our throat when our kid says "I love you." Religion puts us in touch with that deepest part of us, with all that is sacred in life.

Religion transcends what we call "organized religion." Churches and temples and dogmas are only humankind's faltering attempt to give structure to what is already instilled in our souls.

So I am grateful that I have a quiet place to go to get in touch with the God who created me and continues to nurture me. I call it an Adoration Chapel but, what the hey, if you feel more comfortable and want to call it a Meditation Chapel, that's okay. God is good.